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Space to Lament, Space to Celebrate

Life is sometimes so easygoing and wonderful . . . until those Mondays when you feel like it’s about to swallow you up and eat you whole – refusing to give you up until you threaten it with a nap or some really strong coffee.

That’s why I’m glad it’s time for prayer stations again. It focuses me on what’s important. 

On Sunday, our youngest daughter woke up super early. My husband and oldest daughter were still sleeping when it was time for me to leave for our Sunday prayer meeting. I didn’t want to wake them so I made an executive mommy decision. I dressed little miss Mya in warm clothes (and by warm, I mean some tights under her sundress so she wouldn’t suffer in our cold 60ish degree temperatures). I put her on my bike and headed down the road to a very adult prayer meeting. I told her what we were doing on the way there, she said, “But Mommy, I don’t know how to pray.” I smiled. Her words were so honest and sweet. I told Mya: “It’s OK if you don’t know how.”

She did OK (for the most part) on my lap . . . until she decided to break into a Nutri-Grain bar I had hidden in my purse for the chance that she might not survive the prayer time and need a snack. I should have unwrapped it ahead of time but it didn’t bother her to make crinkly-crunchy sounds while Pastor Brett was praying. She didn’t care that she needed to change her position every thirty seconds. She whispered things, whatever two year-olds whisper, and she sighed . . . often.

I did open my eyes a few times to find her watching me. Watching our pastors. Looking around for what they might do when she made a peep or took a giant (and loud) swig from her sippy cup. She watched as they continued to pray. As we prayed with her in our circle, I felt that she was praying in her own special way and it was just as important and beautiful as our big adult grown up words. She was proud of herself afterwards. She, and her friend Lotso – who smells a lot like strawberries, had been a part of their first prayer meeting.

And this is how we embrace teens who give us this gift of their time mid-week or on the weekends. We have a sacred opportunity to show them the way. But we also have the sacred opportunity to push back and show them that no matter how out of line they get we are going to continue setting the example and hoping that they will learn from us as we faithfully love without limits. 

Thank God my youth pastor didn’t expect me to know how to pray when he met me. Thank God his wife didn’t judge my choice of clothing or music. Thank God the volunteers didn’t judge my worth on the history of my family or the challenges we faced. They included me in the circle. Invited me to learn. And, when I was ready, I joined them.

This is my hope for our children and the children we are blessed to support in our ministries. Supplementing the faith work that is being done in homes is the greatest privilege.And if it’s not being done in homes, an even greater privilege is leading a student to Christ and watching them lead their own families. 

As we head into prayer stations I’m reminded that our work is never done in vain. When our goal is doing the will of God for the glory of God we find our work invigorating and bearing fruit because God tells us that if we ask for “will of God–for the Glory of God” things that he will answer us and give us anything we ask.

Wow. That’s an amazing promise.

During last months stations, Emily (our chief creative officer) told me that she overhead a student saying, “I feel like I could do this every day” as she sat spilling out her heart to God through art.

I feel like I could do this every day. 

One teenager is able to say it best, the goal of the intentional work . . . that teenagers would desire to connect with God everyday.

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Brooklyn recently founded The Justice Movement, a church youth movement that helps teenagers help others. Her priority is to inspire and resource youth to break cycles of poverty through faith in action. An ordained pastor, Brooklyn has served in full time youth ministry for the last 16 years, authored numerous books, contributes and communicates for Orange Leaders, and speaks at camps and conferences. She, her husband Coy, and daughters Kirra and Mya live in Lakeland, FL where they like being outside, playing with their dog Marley. www.brooklynlindsey.com @brooklynlindsey/ www.justicemovement.com @thejustmove